This is not an attempt at confessing my life’s traumas, as much as examining the cultural themes relating to my experiences.

Reexamining music about violence from the perspective of a survivor.

It is also an attempt at expressing uniquely feminine pain and anguish that has long been ignored by genres that examine male pain, such as metal, industrial, and most all of the *cores that emerged from them, but including blues, country music, and English language folk music. Experiences unique to humans having children, but also those of violation, lack of physical dominance, disenfranchisement, erasure, demonization, stolen agency, navigating narrow social constraints, etc. These experiences are not unique to women universally, but in our culture here in the USA they are had most often by women and other oppressed groups.

I’ve been fascinated with murder ballads since I was a kid listening to 60s folk revival and country western music with my parents. Fascinated in a kind of thrilled and afraid way.

How many times did I hear the words of Delia’s Gone before I realized it held a passive threat?

I wanted to know what kind of power these songs had. I did what I do best, I dug into as many old sources as I could find to understand where these songs came from. I learned about broadside ballads and Child ballads and the Roud folk song index. So there is history, just not mine.

I learned that Delia was a real murder victim.

There was also an Ellen Smith and an Omie Wise. There are two different Frankie and Johnnys. The unnamed shes, hers, hims, and theirs. And of course the victims and killers who lost their names to lyrical meter and are now known only as Molly, Polly, Jenny, Maggie, Margaret, Willy, William, Tom, or Johnny.

Because that’s the thing about these songs, a lot of them started as news- a kind of news based entertainment that would of course be hard for any modern person to understand. People who heard them wrote their own versions with different words, different melodies, different rhythms.

My life is a lot, with no break in the storm in sight, but digging through these fragments of pain help me keep things in perspective. I’m lucky enough to have access to meds and a therapist that I really get along well with, but I don’t feel comfortable with the kind of raw expression I’m working towards with this project.

Right now I am focused on what I see as the beginning phase: Warming up and refining my musical ideas by performing traditional songs, covering modern songs in a “traditional” style, and rewriting traditional songs to examine them with a better understanding of history.

It’s been almost a decade since I’ve been in a band, and I’ve never worked solo before, so it’s slow going to say the least. But I am also enjoying working on this musical project more than any I have done in the past. No matter how many times I move on to work on something else I always come back to this music.

I’ll be using this space to gather research materials, workshop song ideas, fuck around posting aesthetic stuff, ramble pointlessly, and share drafts of my songs.

If you are interested in following this project’s development, follow my tumblr and whatever social media accounts you prefer.

Track progress in my project journal.

Growing up a native of the flyover states, I heard more than my fair share of country-western music. I even went through a phase where my radio was programmed to the local pop country station. But the songs that always stuck with me were the ones that someone dies in. The Thunder Rolls, The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia, Ode to Billie Joe, Papa Loved Mama, Independence Day, Long Black Veil, Delia's Gone, you get the picture.

As I've grown older I've come to have a more nuanced view of these songs and others like them. I started to research the history of English language folk music and it's development over time. I learned about broadside ballads, and from there the fascinating art form of murder ballads. And then I knew what it was that I loved about these songs: They were real. Some were literally about real people and real events, and others were real in the sense that they talked about real subjects that people are normally too afraid to talk about.

My musical taste has expanded with my exposure to new music, but it's still the songs that tell dark stories that I love the most. Jeremy, Not An Addict, Arsonist's Lullaby, Country Death Song, Deep Red Bells, The Mercy Seat, Suffer Little Children. Suicide, addiction, murder, abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, and serial killers, just for a start.

Obviously, I'm not the only weirdo into these songs, for starters people keep on making them. In my research I've found a lineage of songs that can be traced back to a murder that happened in England in 1649. In many cases the songs, as inaccurate as they may become, do preserve the victim's name, sometimes for centuries. I don't see any reason that we should quit now.

Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me.

some images & graphics generated with ai

Generative AI

I use AI to help me generate images of things that don't exist. Stock photography of underepresented minorities, views of the past, examples of disposable historical ephemera, murder victims whose faces have been lost to time and neglect. I work very hard to fine tune prompts that I create based on lengthy research. I usually generate 20-30 images for every final image that you see, but sometimes it takes more before I'm truly happy with the results. I also generated the base for my bleeding dahlia site logo. For the moment I am using Microsoft Copilot AI most often.

images & graphics edited with photopea


I crop images, edit colors, adjust balance, add masks, apply filters, and all the rest of that image editing jazz in PhotoPea. It's 100% free to use with only a few unobtrusive ads. They have never crashed the program which is usually the issue with ads on big apps like image editing ones. I haven't been able to afford photoshop in years, but PhotoPea seems to do most of what I think it could do one of the times I checked the features recently You can also download it to run offline or pay to have the ads removed. Artists are like, notoriously poor tho, so I really appreciate the free option working so well. There's even a portable installation for a flash drive setup.

graphic design & animatiosn added in canva


I add animations, animated elements, videos, texture layers, and sometimes text, in Canva. Canva has a native generative image AI but it doesn't produce consistent enough results that I can use it to create images that go together cohesively. The app is kinda pushy on the premium service, which is not cheap, but it's very usable for almost everything you need it to do in the free app.